South Africa’s tourism sector shows strong signs of revival

South Africa’s tourism sector continues to show recovery post-Covid-19, with the first half of 2023 recording more than 4-million tourist arrivals.

This is a significant increase from the 2.3-million tourist arrivals between January and June 2022.

The total number of tourist arrivals between January and June 2023 showed a 78.2% surge in the first half of 2023 when compared to the same period in 2022.

“There has also been a substantial increase across all regions in the same period,” said Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille.

“Although the current growth demonstrates signs of recovery, we are still operating at 80% of our pre-pandemic capacity.

“In 2019, South Africa welcomed more than 5-million tourists between January and June [of that year].”

De Lille said the African region continues to bring the largest share of tourist arrivals.

“We are pleased with the number of visitors that our country continues to receive from the rest of the African continent.

“This is a testament to the marketing efforts that we have implemented to attract tourists from this region.

“Africa remains a key source market for us, and we are committed to collaborating as a tourism sector to make sure we welcome visitors from this region and that we cater to their needs and preferences.”

She noted that South Africa has also welcomed more visitors from other regions.

“These robust figures showcase South Africa’s charm and attractiveness, as well as the work that we are doing in marketing South Africa as a tourist destination of choice.”

De Lille said the substantial increase, particularly from Australasia and Asia, reflects the global trend towards post-pandemic travel recovery. 

“We are growing stronger each day and we are determined to pass pre-Covid-19 arrival numbers. South Africa is open for tourism and we are ready to welcome more tourists.

“I wish to express my deepest gratitude to all travellers who chose to explore our country and contributed to the tourism sector’s growth and our economy.

“The support of travellers, both domestic and international, has played a crucial role in revitalizing our economy and restoring the vibrancy of our tourism sector.”

The minister explained further: “I also wish to thank the tourism private sector across the country for all your hard work to grow our tourism offering, promote South Africa as a must-see destination, and for your amazing hospitality in hosting our visitors.”


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